I have to be honest… As a christian, politically moderate mother of a special needs child living in the bible belt, I wasn’t sure how to feel about this weekend’s Women’s March on Washington. I have political opinions that fall on both sides of the spectrum as well as some that fall right smack in the middle. I neither opposed the march nor did I feel a strong need to participate. However, as I watched Facebook throughout the day Saturday, I saw that many of my friends *did* have strong opinions and/or reactions to this historical protest.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have a truly diverse group of intelligent, articulate and thoughtful Facebook friends. So, I posed a few questions seeking to understand the convictions of those who held definitive opinions:
Friends who oppose the march- Why? I’m not speaking about any rioting or violence that has occurred surrounding this weekend. I’m speaking specifically about those who peacefully marched. The right to peaceful assembly is protected by the first amendment, so why does yesterday’s march bother you? What do you support and what are you looking forward to with the shift in politics that began Friday?
Friends who marched and/or support the march- Why? Why do you feel a peaceful protest was necessary? If you actually participated in the march, why did you make this a priority? If it bothers you that other women do not support the march, why? What are the issues that you feel are threatened by the shift in political climate?
For those who took issue with the march, there seemed to be a few common themes:
“I think it’s hard for folks to see what a big deal abortion is to evangelical Christians, and it has nothing to do with equality or feminism. Why are abortions more accessible and cheaper than adoptions are?”
“I have mixed feelings but one thing that I didn’t love was that the organizers of the march in DC definitely stated that their main platform was abortion and if your ideals didn’t align with theirs on that matter, you weren’t a feminist and weren’t invited.” -Amy Tuggle
What about women in other countries, and why now?
“I did not understand the timing or what they wanted to accomplish. We live in a country where we get to vote, but also have to accept the outcome of that vote. I wasn’t excited when Obama won but I respected him as president and a man.” -Sarah Althouse
After sharing some statistics about oppressed women in other countries- “I just want to know….WHERE was the outrage then? WHY weren’t we marching all around the country and world, in solidarity and in support of these women? Why now? I am not diminishing the issues that we still have in the US but nobody got riled up until it pertained to them. Perhaps it’s the timing of it but I feel like this was just a collective vent session rather than a women’s rights movement.” -Julie Vollnogle
As for my friends who marched and/or supported the march, they had varied opinions of their own:
“I marched in Loup City, Nebraska. Why? For peace, for love and for equality . I want our new President to know I am watching and do not want humanity to suffer at the hands of things like health care, equal rights, and immigration.”-Ranae Aspen
“I have never been more proud to have ovaries as I was yesterday. It is time we finally address these issues on this level, millions strong. I truly feel that we DO live in a man’s world, and you just don’t have to look that hard to find examples of why women still don’t have 100% equal rights. Not just in our great country, but across the globe. THE RISE OF THE WOMAN = THE RISE OF OUR NATION.”-Erika Wilson
“I have major concerns for those with disabilities. I fear that vulnerable community is going to get lost among other issues, so I feel this strong call to action myself- to be the voice for those most vulnerable. For me, it’s about seeing that Trump’s policies may well move us backward. So, to put it simply for me, the walk symbolized the power of mobilizing, the power of love, and forward motion-the “we still can” feeling.”
“I marched for all women. Of all races, color, religion , backgrounds, and sexuality. We are all equal. So are men. And our children. I participated in the Women’s March because of my concerns on President Trump and his administration. But I’m hopeful and I support democracy. At the end of the day, we are all on the same team.
In the end, a beautiful, unexpected thing happened. The conversation on my post was full of opinions on both sides, yet there was no arguing or hatefulness. There was only discussion, listening, and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Following this conversation among all of these wonderful women was so heartening, and gave me hope for our future as a nation. I leave you with this quote from Rebecca Spohr which, I feel, sums it all up quite nicely.
“I wish people could understand that I don’t know which side is right on all things. I never got a memo from God saying, “Rebecca hold firm here and yell at people about this one.” So I’m done fighting; I don’t know if my heart is telling God’s truth or your heart is. But, that’s for me to find out when I meet Him. In the meantime, He does tell me to love my sister and brother. So, stop hating me for what I believe to be true so I can love you.”